Sports & Recreation

County accepts new park from Anderson Homes

After months of delays while waiting for an electrical switcher, Anderson Homes transferred the new $3 million park to the county June 28.
The new $3-million park has two playgrounds, a baseball field, basketball halfcourt, picnic tables and benches, and restrooms. Photo courtesy of Anderson Homes.
Even though sidewalks lead up to the western entrance it has been blocked off for months until the park officially opens. Photo by John Chadwell.
A new sidewalk runs the length of the development between Sunnyslope and Hillcrest Roads. Photo by John Chadwell.
Besides the small parking lot on the eastern side of the park people will be able to park their vehicles on both sides of Santana Ranch Drive. Photo by John Chadwell.
There will be more small parks in the development, such as this one at the end of Sunnyslope Road, between Park Trail Drive and Castlerock Drive. Photo by John Chadwell.

The new 5-acre Santana Ranch Park, located between Santana Ranch Street and Fairview Road, includes playgrounds for two different age groups, benches and picnic tables, a large grassy area, a baseball field, basketball half court and restrooms, has remained closed to the public for over three months while waiting for an electrical switch box coming from Texas. That will change soon.

Michael Anderson, Anderson Homes’ vice president of operations, told BenitoLink the park was valued at $3 million. He wanted to transfer the grant deed for the park to the county at the June 28 meeting but was told he wouldn’t be able to do so until August, after the supervisors’ July break. That will now change, said Supervisor Betsy Dirks, whose district includes the Santana Ranch development east of Fairview Road.

Anderson said even though the park will still lack electricity after the county takes it over, it may be open during daylight hours. “I am excited to announce that the park will be opening in early July,” Dirks told BenitoLink. “In light of the continued delay of the electrical switch needed for the park, we worked to find a solution that would allow us to open the park for our community.”

She said the county worked with Anderson Homes to help make the event happen “sooner rather than later.”

“I am looking forward to taking my own kids to the park this summer,” she said. “It’s a beautiful addition not only to Santana Ranch, but the county as a whole.

Anderson told BenitoLink when the development agreement for Santana Ranch was being negotiated, more parks and recreation opportunities were a top priority for supervisors. A strong interest in more parks was expressed in the Vision 2022 listening sessions held by the Community Foundation for San Benito County in 2012. Soon afterward, R.E.A.C.H., San Benito Parks Foundation, was created to help establish more recreational areas countywide. BenitoLink is currently planning Vision 2032 listening sessions to gather current resident input. 

“There was a strong desire to increase the development of new parks locally and provide funding to enhance recreational opportunities,” Anderson said. “Although it is not common in a development agreement for a developer to be required to build parks and pay park fees too, we agreed to both because it was important to the community at that time and would provide great benefits to residents inside and outside of Santana Ranch.”

Anderson said in addition to the park, over the span of the buildout of the development the builder will also pay $4 million in park fees to the county to be used on other county parks. (See the county’s 2010 park master plan.) He said there will also be linear parks and walking trails in the community, like the one that stretches uphill from the end of Sunnyslope Road to Castlerock Drive. He said once the county owns the park it’s up to the supervisors when it will open.

Sidewalks that run along Fairview leading to the park’s western entrance have been completed as work continues to widen Fairview between Sunnyslope and Hillcrest roads. The sidewalk will allow people to walk into the park from the west. 

A bus stop has already been built along Fairview Road and Anderson said he has talked with the county to arrange for bus service. There is also a 15-space parking lot inside the development on the eastern side of the park, and parking will be available along Santana Ranch Drive near Rancho Santana Elementary School. There will be no parking along Fairview Road.

“I know the county’s been talking to the sheriff asking if they could patrol after sunset for safety reasons,” said Anderson. “We’re eager to open the park and see people using it.”

 

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John Chadwell

John Chadwell is a BenitoLink reporter and an author. He has many years' experience as a freelance photojournalist, copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter, and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer who has worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and underwent graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John has worked as a script doctor and his own script, God's Club, was released as a motion picture in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime, which are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to: [email protected]